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Newtonian Mechanics (M.I.T. Introductory Physics Series) [Paperback]

A. P. French
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £26.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 April 1971 0393099709 978-0393099706
A rough guide to the possible use of the book is suggested by its division into three parts. Part I, The Approach to Newtonian Dynamics, is intended to serve two purposes. First, it does discuss the basic concepts of kinematics and dynamics, more or less from scratch. Second, it seeks to place the study of mechanics squarely in the context of the world of physical phenomena and of necessarily imperfect physical theories. Part II, Classical Mechanics at Work, is undoubtedly the heart of the book. The initial emphasis is on Newton's second law applied to individual objects. Later, the emphasis shifts to systems of two or more particles, and to the conservation laws for momentum and energy. A fairly lengthy chapter is devoted to the subject that deserves pride of place in the whole Newtonian scheme-the theory of universal gravitation and its successes, which can still be appreciated as a pinnacle in man's attempts to discover order in the vast universe in which he finds himself. Part III, Some Special Topics, concerns itself with the problems of noninertial frames, central-force motions, and rotational dynamics.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 760 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (1 April 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393099709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393099706
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 16 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, atrocious printing 1 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
French pulls off what I once thought impossible: to offer an engaging, challenging and lively read on Newtonian mechanics. What is often considered the most dry topic in physics is brought to life here by French's skillful interweaving of mathematical sophistication, intuitive explanation and history of science. What I particularly appreciate is that, unlike most modern textbooks, this book is not written as if intended for teenagers with attention deficit snydrome. French assumes that the reader is someone who is interested in mechanics and willing to invest time and effort to understand the subject, and so one will not find any watered down explanations or lamentations that certain ideas are beyond the scope of the text. The questions at the end of each chapter are of mixed value. While they are all carefully constructed to test the readers intution rather than just an ability to plug numbers into equations, some will refer to quantities and concepts that were not covered in the main text of the book, and are therefore of little use to anyone who does not wish to reference back to other texts/websites (though these questions are definitely in the minority).

The biggest problem I have with the book is the dreadful print quality. The headings on each page that reference the respective chapter and subsection are practically illegible, and the diagrams are printed in faint grey on a faint grey background meaning that half the time one has to guess which symbols mentioned in the text correspond to which elusive silhouttes in the diagram. I was unsure whether or not deduct a star for this since it does not substantively affect the actual quality of the text, but the printing is so bad that it actually reduces the amount that can be learned from it. All in all this is the best book on mechanics I have come across, but try to obtain a different print edition.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid and reaffirming physics text 25 April 2006
In common with French's other titles in the MIT introductory series, Newtonian Mechanics provides a comprehensive and salient discourse on the subject at hand. It should be noted, however, that its format does not lend itself to being a quick reference on the subject; unlike some physics texts (particularly at a lower level) it is heavy on prose and is devoid of colour, box-outs, 'key points', etc. (although there are plenty of figures and illustrations). The chapters are intended to be read from start to finish; dipping into the text here and there tends to require significant back-tracking to understand the frequent references to previous material. If you are interested in Mechanics merely as an applied mathematic other books may be more appropriate.

Newtonian Mechanics excels as specialist physics text (i.e. if your interest is more than just one of application). It provides a very firm grounding in concepts that, though familiar, comprise a great deal of subtilty and potential for misconception. It also provides the reader with an essential sense of the origins of mechanics as an emprically derived physically theory; something that is perhaps lost from contemporary teaching now that newtonian mechanics is so established in the scientific paradigm. This alone makes it a valuable read.

Personally, the book has reinvigorated mechanics for me as an important part of physics and not a dull dead one; in fact the ideas of experimentation leading to the development of the theory of motion presented in this book (as it is done with great precision and attention to detail) seem to be the encompass essence of physics. It as also sharped my understanding of the concepts that were taught to me in secondary school but seemed somehow circular or handwaving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but too long and wordy 11 Nov 2011
As I have commented before in my review of A. P. French's Special Relativity this book, Newtonian Mechanics, by the same author is too long and verbose. Now I am not saying that it isn't a good book because it is. It is very comprehensive and given how large a subject matter Newtonian mechanics is one would expect the book to be of a corresponding size. But . . .

. . . it is just too wordy, and this means that it is more difficult than it needs to be to find what you are looking for quickly. In fact the book would possibly have benefited from being broken into two sections one concise and the other lengthier and with more detailed explanation. Now I know it may just be my viewpoint and one not shared by others but I find that when tackling a new subject for the first time a student - or anyone enthusiastic enough to take time to study - does not want to be bogged down reading when what they really need is the basic information and techniques. Yes, I know they will need detailed explanations but sometimes the need will be less than at other times. This book just doesn't really offer that option. It is a long slog that feels at times more like a search for the important stuff.

Having said the above I would recommend this book for it's comprehensiveness but with the caveat that it may just be a bit too much like hard work for some.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal 3 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great for first and second year Physics students, contains topics such as the conservation laws, angular momentum and contains examples in the real world.
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